I’ve been reading about younger veterans. One nonpartisan organization, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), has released a very modest set of questions this cohort should ask candidates before the upcoming mid-term elections. Like Vietnam veterans, this group has been exposed to significant toxic exposures; the health impacts for them are not understood yet. A 2011 Pew Report, states that
…A smaller share of Americans currently serve in the U.S. Armed Forces than at any time since the peace-time era between World Wars I and II. During the past decade, as the military has been engaged in the longest period of sustained conflict in the nation’s history, just one-half of one percent of American adults has served on active duty at any given time.1 As the size of the military shrinks, the connections between military personnel and the broader civilian population appear to be growing more distant.
As the Pew Report shows, a majority of Americans have been skeptical about the need for these post-9/11 military interventions. They currently have a positive view of those who have served but 71% admit that they don’t understand their problems. It remains to be seen if younger generations will be taught about the personal and historical impacts of 9/11.
Even senators, like Senator Durbin, in defending Secretary Clinton, have been highly critical of Iraq:
“You want to talk about bad information? “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.” “They didn’t exist,” the senator says. “Thousands of Americans lost their lives. We could have a hearing about that.”
How to teach terrorism? There is praise from many corners for the fact-finding of the report, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks up the United States. It’s long but the free online versions are available here by sections or full version.
Norton, the authorized ed. of the book was published in 2004; Their 2011 follow-up, The 9/11 Commission Report, THE ATTACK FROM PLANNING TO AFTERMATH , contains new material. From William B. Quandt,
“No commission has ever had better access to intelligence information. Led by University of Virginia professor Philip Zelikow, a team of academics and analysts details the story of how the 9/11 plot unfolded and how it managed to succeed. Read it and weep. It would seem that we had ample warning, but of course it is always easier to see the patterns in hindsight.”
It should probably be required college reading in Political Science and American History courses for generations. The very short Benghazi report is also instructive; it sees the leadership as “grossly inadequate.”
Feminist Camille Paglia thought former Secretary Clinton should have resigned immediately when she took responsibility for Benghazi. And, about her infamous remarks before Congress (1/13), said, “As far as I’m concerned, Hillary disqualified herself for the presidency in that fist-pounding moment at a congressional hearing when she said, ‘What difference does it make what we knew and when we knew it, Senator?’ [paraphrase]) From the Guardian’s coverage (at 5:36 PM ET):
Johnson digs in: “We were misled that there were protests and that something sprang out of that. And the American people were misled.”
Clinton’s dander is up: “Was it terrorists, or was it because of a guy out for a walk one night? What difference at this point does it make?
No one needs to explain to veterans why good intelligence and timing matters because their lives have depended on it. It does make a difference.
Paul Rand makes a remark we at ASKNOD can relate to:
Before his question, Paul delivers the most scathing assessment yet of Clinton’s performance. He refers to the “original 9/11”: “One of the thing that disappointed me most about the original 9/11 is that no one was fired.”
“Had I been president at the time, and I found that you had not read the cables… I would have relieved you of your post,” Paul says.
So wrapping up, we desire peace but acts of terror are increasing; tyrants and fanatics are busy plotting. We must properly fund the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the VA because the casualties of war are legion. Partisan tribal politics are folly.
This should all be clear to non-military related voters but it’s not. Current veterans (1%) have a broader global education than civilians (99+%). If anyone deserves a vacation at a margarita watering hole, it’s a veteran and his family. Instead, we have about 50,000 veterans sleeping on the street every night. (I cannot think of any other Western country that treats their military veterans this way.) Argh!